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Magical Books, Styles

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.christnet.demonology,alt.magick.goetia,alt.witchcraft,alt.traditional.witchcraft,alt.necronomicon
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Magical Books, Styles (was Where can I get ...)
Date: 8 Oct 1999 00:43:35 -0700

49991007 IVom (Tony E.):
#># I want to teach myself the ways of magic and was 
#># wondering where I could get a spelbook. 

magical books may or may not contain instructions for making
spells or about the principles of magic like what you are
requesting. there are several types of books that could be 
described as 'magical books' and might be contained in the 

here is a categorical breakdown of the type of book you
are likely to encounter and, if I happen to know of the
location of examples or recommendations offline then
I'll provide mention them:

	 from what I've seen these are usually Judeochristian
	 (Solomonic) directories and instruction manuals for
	 the summoning of spirits. they have legendary and
	 often farcical histories associated with them and
	 are of questionable value to the working mage. there
	 are a few examples of these (Goetia, Pauline Art,
	 Almadel) in the directory mentioned above.

	 the classic 'spellbook' of the witch or mage is
	 sometimes (esp. in modern versions) comprised of 
	 more religious than magical data. there are some
	 decent scholarly compilations of cultural spell
	 descriptions (e.g. the Greek and Roman), and the
	 occult community (whether witchy or ceremonial)
	 has authors willing to put out text making claim
	 to the content. the fantasy role-playing genre
	 has made the notion of the wizard's spellbook a
	 standard, and through the alt.magick FAQ at

 	 you can even find the Great Net Spellbook (RPG).
	 online there are archives of spells, such as that
	 constructed by sri catyananda and myself at
	 and some others advertized in the newsgroup

	Magical Records
	 ceremonialists such as those of the Golden Dawn
	 and Ordo Templi Orientis recommend constructing
	 a kind of scientific journal, diary and/or record
	 of one's 'magical experiments'. the magical
	 records of famous magicians are are considered
	 prized possessions, and there is some variation
	 in what is said to be contained in them. the
	 only examples of a magical record of which I am 
	 currently aware is called 'The Magical Record 
	 of the Beast', some portion of the diaries of 
	 Aleister Crowley, a notorious sex magician and 
	 author on occult and mystical subjects. another
	 might be "The Enochian Evocation of Doctor John
	 Dee", published by Heptangle Books. a peculiar
	 example online might be the file on a Christian
	 magical initiation at:

	 and continued in files of a similar name.

	Power Books 
	 largely mythical or legendary, these magical and
	 mystical texts are usually provided some grandiose
	 origin and can become scripture for religions. the
	 "grimoires" mentioned previously can at times over-
	 lap with Power Books, but while these usually can
	 be obtained (however disappointing their contents
	 may prove to be), the Power Books are often truly
	 unobtainable because their history or description
	 has been so carefully rendered by authors of
	 fiction that anyone with slight research can
	 uncover this inconsistency. a classic example of
	 a Power Book is the "Necronomicon", described by
	 the horror fiction writer Howard P. Lovecraft
	 and rendered in a number of widely divergent
	 levels of quality by numerous "editors" and
	 publishing houses (seldom if ever bound in human
	 flesh as it was described by Lovecraft, however).
	 an example rendered by sri catyananda and only
	 recently recovered was "The Book of the Vishanti",
	 which duplicated the name of the book of arcane
	 knowledge described and included in the stories	
	 within the comic books of 'Doctor Strange (Master
	 of the Mystic Arts/Sorcerer Supreme)'. I hope to
	 encourage sri catyananda to let me enter this
	 information online for the imagination and
	 benefit of spell-casters everywhere. another
	 possible set of example here are the Tibetan 
	 Buddhist reservoirs of transmitted consciousness 
	 known as 'termas' (especially those which contain
	 spells; see the following web page:

	 for an in-depth comparison between the Necronomicon
	 and termas in an exploration of the potential
	 'reality' of the former Book of Power).

	 a list of plant parts (e.g. herbs, bark, roots) and 
	 their magical properties and uses. it need not 
	 contain instructions for application. Meier's,
	 Cunningham's, Gamache's, Anna Riva's and Papa Jim's
	 herbals are all examples of varying quality. I'm
	 not aware of any complete herbals online, though I
	 have constructed a rudimentary herbal file on the
	 the formula of Black Arts at:

	 a series of recipes for magical oils, ointments,
	 potions, powders, incenses, inks, etc. it may not
	 contain instructions beyond such a list, and
	 there are very few available since they often
	 form the basis of laboratory productions for
	 sale or personal magical work. an example which
	 was recently discussed in usenet is "The Ancient
	 Book of Formulas", which actually contains a
	 manufacturer's coded set of recipes that do not
	 define its precise formula recipes (instead
	 indicating something like 'Fast Luck #17' in
	 place of what would the core of the formula).
	 Herman Slater and Anna Riva apparently have
	 such formularies available for sale, but I can
	 not vouch for their quality. a compilation of
	 recipes for magical formula products is being
	 constructed in the Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive
	 and may be reached via this URL:

	Practical Instructions on Magic
	 systematic procedures for the performance of
	 spells, ceremonials, the construction of a
	 variety of magical aids, tools, and weapons.
	 this may not have actual spells in it, but
	 it may detail how spells should be created
	 and/or carried out in general. examples of
	 this type of book abound, such as "The Sacred
	 Magic of Abramelin the Mage", apparently
	 translated by S.L.M. Mathers, and Henri Gamache's
	 "The Master Book of Candle Burning". there are
	 also many books on 'witchcraft' such as Paul
	 Huson's "Mastering the Art of Witchcraft" that
	 contain both practical and theoretical details
	 on how to go about magical work. there are
	 many files on the practical details of magic
	 and quite a number may be reached through the
	 "Mage's Guide to the Internet" (MaGI) at:

	Theoretical Descriptions of Magic
	 there are far more of these kinds of books
	 available in print, not all of them being
	 of value to the beginner, let alone to
	 the experienced mage or witch. books like
	 Bonewits' "Real Magic", Conway's "Magic:
	 an Occult Primer" or Crowley's "Magick in 
	 Theory and Practice" (/"Magick") will at
	 times contain a combination, whereas texts
	 such as "Transcendental Magic" by Eliphas
	 Levi or Crowley's "Magick Without Tears"
	 may rarely touch on practical subjects. the
	 Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive has numerous
	 usenet posts and essays on the theoretical 
	 aspects of magic at:

	 and the MaGI probably has decent links also.
	 you can also look into the newsgroup
	 constellation alt.magick.* and check out
	 the FAQ for that newsgroup at:
	 and its numerous REFerence documents through
	 a link on that page.

	Books of Shadows
	 books of shadows appear to be a Wiccan phenomenon
	 in which some type of safeguarded record of magical
	 rites or traditional material (sacred names, secret
	 cult data, etc.) is passed on to initiates. some
	 Wiccans keep reflections on their ritual
	 experiences and even pre-plan their rituals in
	 the same book, making of it a kind of magical diary.
	 few books of shadows are available publically, as
	 many Wiccans require initiation and oaths of
	 secrecy prior to viewing its contents. exceptions
	 to this are Marion Weinstein's "Earth Magic: a
	 Dianic Book of Shadows", the examination of the
	 original Gardnerian Books of Shadows by Aidan Kelly
	 ("Crafting the Art of Magic"?), and an eclectic
	 Book of Shadows by Lorax666 inspired by studies 
	 with Gardnerians at:

thank you sri catyananda for your suggestions of several 
magical book categories and their theoretical differences.
if others have additions, please post them in response.

#># If anyone knows, please contact me as soon as possilble.
#># You must remember this: I am only 13 years of age and 
#># do not come across alot of money.

I can't do anything about the age. if you can read usenet, then
you can read this (plus I tend to cc those to whom I respond),
and if you can use a browser then you can get to many of the
links that I've provided above, no money required at all. (Jo):
# [First] you need to figure out what "kind" (system) of 
# magick you are interested in. Then find a good book on 
# the subject (, and then read, read, read......

this is not very helpful advice as I see it, because the
books on the subjects are not typically obvious through
a bookseller like Amazon and the beginner won't usually
HAVE a categorical list from which to choose. lucky for
you both, however, the Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive is set
out in a map which makes at least some of the subjects of
study in magic evident. the following subject breakdown
is contained within the top level page of the archive:

I have eliminated that which does not pertain to a 
taxonomy of magical styles):

Styles of Magic

	A) ceremonial ("dress-up"; European- or Judaic-based)
       		1 - crowley ("magick"; oto, aa, +)
		2 - enochian (Dee, others)
		3 - golden dawn (various orgs; cf. alt.magick gdref)
		4 - neo-pagan (including wiccan, druidic, and asatru;
		     cf. the Esoteric Archive under these religions)
		5 - solomonic (grimoiric)

	B) chaos (Spare, Sherwin, Carroll, many others)

	C) folk (no "dress-up"; world folk-culture based)
		1 - hoodoo (cf. )

	D) satanist ("black magick"; 
           cf. )

I'd welcome discussion and commentary regarding this taxonomy.

blessed beast! (nagasiva)
--  ;
emailed replies may be posted; cc replies if response desired

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